Legal Basics for Designers


Open Design is about sharing your work with others, and about designing with others. This also brings up some confusion; how can you share your work without getting copied? What are your rights if you design something in a collaborative project? And can a commercial product be Open Design? Is it possible to make a living from your work if you open your design files?

To answer these questions, it’s good to get some background on copyright and industrial design right, how design traditionally is protected and how Creative Commons licenses can be applied to design. For designers, the legal aspects of protecting their work are hard to figure out. Instead of diving into all of the legal licensing systems, it is best to first define a clear goal, and then find the best way to license your work. In this article we explain copyright, industrial design right, patent law and trademark law.

By looking at specific cases we illustrate which rights apply for designers, and how in these cases Creative Commons can be applied to achieve the goal of the designer.


Authors Waag Society, Premsela, Creative Commons Nederland

Publisher Waag Society, Premsela, Creative Commons Nederland

Year 2013

Language English

License CC BY NC SA 4.0